interview x Joy Crookes
With over 2.6 million views on her ColorsBerlin collaboration, Joy Crookes is making her mark with captivating storytelling by blending her Londoner and Bangladeshi style. I spoke to her about why this is so important to her creative identity, as she toured the Netherlands.
Tsyon: "I've been following your instagram for a while, and so impressed by the effortless way you fuse your cultural heritage and youthful Londoner aesthetic, how much does doing this mean to you as a creative?"
Joy: "Fusing my cultural and environmental backgrounds is a huge part of my identity. I'm Bangladeshi- Irish and grew up in south London (before gentrification knocked on our doors). I'm proud of where i'm from and I wear my heart on my sleeve as much as possible. Because I want honest work, how I identify myself is a huge part of my creativity."
Tsyon: "You're lyrical work and visuals are distinct because they revolve around two worlds- where you have come from and where you want to be. Who are those people that have guided you in developing your creative and individualistic identity?"
Joy: "The obvious answers: my family, friends and lovers. My idols - especially Frida Kahlo - and my History and Art teacher from when I was at school"
Tsyon: "What does lyricism mean to you? Was this always the direction you had wanted to go in?"
Joy: "I didn't really think about it. I'm a storyteller, I'm the type to exaggerate details to make my friends i'm telling the story to more excited. I guess this just translated into my music. Lyricism is a very important thing for me: the art of saying so much with so little."
Tsyon: "What drew me to your story was that you come from a multicultural background, where we know too well that girls can find it hard to follow their creative desires, how do you feel about this,was this your experience?"
Joy: "My Irish dad has always been extremely supportive. My mum is Bengali and I think she found it harder for me to become a musician. My dad and i were speaking recently about how South Asians are barely represented in entertainment industries so when you tell fellow south asians you work in music, it can really shock them, and some of course won't approve. My mum is a rebel however. She always dressed how she wanted to and never felt too much need to stick to Bangladeshi stereotypes. She tells me: "if you don't ask, you don't get". My father and her fought hard to get where they are and want me to do the same, regardless of what the world 'expects' from you."
My song "mother, may I sleep with danger?" explores some of these points.
Tsyon: "Your clear sense of who you are and how you want to project yourself undoubtedly will set you up for success, where do you think you are headed and do you see yourself changing much?"
Joy: "I want longevity. I'm not here for 5 minutes and I want to make sure of that. I see myself growing, getting older, and having more and more to write about."
You can find her at:
interviewed by @tsyon.feleke